Everyone likes bashing politicians. Everyone likes moaning about the double-standards and the hypocrisy. Right Wingers moan about the left, Left Wingers moan about the right, everyone moans about the politicians they dislike or disagree with. And that’snatural. But if you’re prepared to criticise UKIP for their racism or the Tories for being out of touch then you must also be prepared to see the bad in the parties you support.
This morning Green leader Natalie Bennett gave a disastrous interview to LBC in which she was unable to provide a costing breakdown for a policy that proposes the building of thousands of new affordable homes in Britain. The details are all over the net, just Google “Natalie Bennett LBC” for details. Unfortunately, this tallies with the main reason I can’t bring myself to vote Green (yet). I don’t think the party, even if it got into power, will be able to afford to implement their policies I support.
But that’s not what I’m writing about today. What I want to talk about is the double standards shown by so many, from both sides of the line, when it comes to criticism aimed at “their party”. Twitter is awash with people saying things like “She might have got her numbers mixed up but at least she’s not a disgusting racist!” which is a fair point. But then nobody’s saying she is, are they? She messed up. The interview was terrible. Natalie Bennett mumbled and dodged her way through the questions because she simply couldn’t explain how she’s pay for her party’s policies if implemented.
UKIP supporters do this too. They say things like “Well, he might have said NigNog, but he’s elderly and besides, it was an interview about the NHS! Concentrate on that!” Nobody likes it when their little group is attacked. Nobody wants to admit that Bennett fucked up. No Ukipper will admit to being part of a racist party. No Labour voter (myself included) feels comfortable admitting their party led us into illegal wars and are veering further right each day. The Tories genuinely (really, though?) believe that cuts to public services are a good thing!
The truth is, politicians are always expected to be showmen too. They weren’t, but they are now. Media-savvy and polished, rattling off numbers and figures to the letter off the top of their heads on a whim. They need to shine on TV and please the eye and the mind. But that’s not what politicians are. They aren’t robots, they are people. The polished ones are tricking you. The less-polished ones are bound to make mistakes. But it’s and Election Year and we’re entering Campaign Season so nothing matters except looking good, rightly or wrongly. And, at the moment, so few politicians do.